REAL MADRID

Real Madrid team news ahead of Elche: Hazard, Modric, Rodrygo

Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Eden Hazard will play at least "a few minutes" for Real Madrid against Elche on Wednesday.

Real Madrid team news ahead of Elche: Hazard, Modric, Rodrygo
RealMadrid.com

Eden Hazard looks set to feature for Real Madrid for the first time in over a month when Los Blancos face Elche on Wednesday night.

Having come back from the Christmas mini-break in peak shape, the Belgian international has been able to train at 100% since the return to work on Sunday, with coach Zinedine Zidane confirming that the 29-year-old winger will play at least “a few minutes” at the Estadio Martínez Valero.

"The idea is that he plays a little," said the French coach, who has taken extreme caution with the Belgian international’s return to play after a string of injury set-backs since his move to Madrid in the summer of 2019.

Zidane not risking anything with Hazard return

Following his latest right-thigh muscle injury sustained against Alavés on 28 November, the former Chelsea man has been back training with the group since 16 December. However, Zidane and his medical staff have so far been reluctant to thrust him back into action. The Belgian star made the bench for the game against Granada on 23 December but was not risked as Los Blancos went on to win 2-0.

Hazard -- who has played just six games this season, scoring two goals against Inter Milan and Huesca -- will be itching to get back on the pitch and hopes are this will have been the last of his injury setbacks for at least the foreseeable future. Since his arrival at the Bernabéu 18 months ago, he has spent 291 days on the sidelines, missing a total of 46 games.

Rodrigo out as Modric returns

The loss of Rodrygo due to a hamstring injury has opened up a space in Zidane's starting eleven, with Hazard, Asensio and Vinicius all battling for the wide spot up front. With Rodrygo the only player unavailable, the French coach will have the rare luxury of a virtually-full squad of players to choose from in what has so far been an injury-laden season. 

Veteran midfielder Luka Modric comes back into the squad after he missed the last game against Granada through injury and could start against Elche as Madrid chase their sixth straight league victory and seventh straight in all competitions.